tv A Conversation with Freshman Representative Buddy Carter R-GA CSPAN December 26, 2015 1:25pm-1:51pm EST
in the state legislator for 10 years, so i have experience in the political arena, but i can tell you that this is different from anything i have done. >> how so? congressman carter: it is a full-time job. even when i was mayor, i was mayor of the relatively small town. and i started, and when i finished, it was larger but it was only a 40 day session every year, so we were in session from the second monday in january until usually march or april, the end of march or first of april. is one ofen -- that the big adjustments i have had to make. when i was around here, i was thinking, it is time to go home and they told me, it cannot go home. that is probably the biggest adjustment. you weren't mayor from when to when? >> from 1986 to 2004. , and it is a suburb
on the coast and coastal georgia . it is down in southern georgia. i represent the entire coast of georgia. >> by did you decide to give up a part-time political job and go for congress? congressman carter: my predecessor held the seat for 22 years. i had always aspired to serve at this level. wonderful joba and was so popular back home, i had to go and get ready for him to leave before i had the opportunity. i got kind of frustrated. i realized, it is a great opportunity to serve in the georgia state legislator. god has a way of throwing us down and making sure that we understand it is his plan and not our plan. me is an editorial
cartoon of congressman kingston passing the baton to you. where is that from? day -- thatfirm the is affirmed the day i was sworn in, january 6 of this year, which is my oldest son's birthday. our families are very close. together.to school his oldest son and my hand this son were at the university of georgia, so our families are close and jack has been a great mentor and i appreciate his help. >> where did you go to college? congressman carter: my first two years, i went to young care is college, a methodist school and then i transferred to the diversity of georgia where it went to pharmacy school. back then, it was a three-year degree, and now it is forwar -- now it is four years. >> white pharmacy? -- why pharmacy?
congressman carter: eventually, not only was i short, but i was slow, and it did not work out the way i would have hoped. i made a deal with my dad, dad, got to see't send us me after junior year, i will get more serious about a job. i don't know it happened that they did not send us got, but i decided to get a job and i got a .ob in a pharmacy it was just perfect for me. i loved it. i loved health care, i loved helping people, i loved retail, interacting with customers, and i was. fortunate because i knew exactly what i wanted to do when i got to college and i went and i did it. >> i see the football is you, georgia, georgia tech, big rivalry. congressman carter: it is. i represent the state of georgia, so i have to not show partisanship so much. >> but she graduated from the university of georgia. congressman carter: i did and i
am an avid fan. >> how did you make the transition from being a politics -- a pharmacist and entered politics? congressman carter: right now, i am the only pharmacist in congress. -- i have always been interested in politics. growing up, i was active in my church and held leadership roles. i was president of the freshman class and very active as time went on. when i got out of school, i was working and my wife and i were starting our careers, but when i opened my own business in 1988, i knew i needed to get involved in my community more, so i served for four years on the zoning committee before he ran for city council and elected the mayor and then two years later, -- mayor have you served as
where you can get something done as a pair to congress -- as compared to congress? it was verycarter: different. i often say that when i became mayor, the first thing i learned was how do count to four. you are right. you can get a lot done as a mayor. particularly, when i was mayor of the city because i had when i left in 2004, we were up to 19,000. we had phenomenal growth. we just had it at the right time. most of that growth presents a lot of challenges. a lot of it was people moving out of savannah into the we hit the housing boom at the right time and it was quite an experience.
we had a lot of big decisions and needed to be made and we made those decisions. it was much the same in the sense of when you have a 40 day , at the beginning of the session you can introduce a bill, can get it to the other body and get signed by the governoru. p here -- governor. up here, it can be very frustrating. you can work for years and years just to get an amendment passed. >> probably one of the most important jobs of any community is a zoning and planning. the community and realize which ones are doing it right and which ones are doing it wrong. how do you do it right? what are the lessons and what are the pitfalls? >> proper planning can save you so many headaches, if you just do it correctly, and if you have
proper zoning, you have things in the right areas. you have to have community input with that, you have to have the community to voice their concerns. professional planners really do a good job with that, they really do a good job in setting it up and making it flow. have one type to of business that is not compatible to another right beside each other. important, and down the road it can save you so much financially if you do it correctly. >> when you serve here in conference, does it frustrate you when you work on legislation and everyone is talking about internal politics? >> it can be very frustrating. i came up here with a clear agenda. i want to do something about our national debt.
sons,e father of three grandfather of twin granddaught ers, and we have a grandson on .he way every generation wants the next generation to have it better. we have got to do something about our national debt. we've got to address the issue of health care in our country, the issue of our military and to ours happening military. we've got to get a balanced budget, we've got to do all those things. it can be very frustrating, because we've got a lot of serious issues in this country. i knew theere,
social issues, i knew the state and local issues. do a lot ofhad to catching up with foreign affairs. i have not traveled much in my life. i'd only been out of the country once before we got up there. that was to canada on a business trip. you learn very quickly that there's another world out there, and the united states plays a very important role in that world. we've had some issues -- serious issues facing our country. i remain confident and optimistic. i think we've got a good people in congress. here, you read about congress, so disliked and just not popular. i went from being a member of the pharmacy profession with number two most trusted profession in the country to a member of congress, which is at the bottom.
you think, there must be a bunch of dead beats up here. surprisingly to me and encouraging to me is the fact that there are a lot of good people in congress, a lot of smart people, a lot of people who want to move this country forward, and i'm very encouraged by that. >> you mentioned travel in your first year. where have you gone? >> i've had the opportunity to visit cuba, which was a great experience for me. certainly that's important right now with everything that has been going on. then i had the opportunity to travel to israel. life-changing experience. my wife was able to go with me. it was during the time we were negotiating the nuclear deal. we met with prime minister netanyahu, and certainly that was very important.
there were a lot of times we met with political leaders, and that was the majority of our trip, but we also had the opportunity to see some of the historical sites, and being a christian and a methodist, it was very emotional, and it was just a great trip for us, my wife and i, to be able to go and visit walked. where jesus we were baptized in the jordan river and i was quite an experience for us as well. >> how important is religion for you? >> vitally important. god has blessed me in so many ways and been with me all my life. having grown up in the bible belt, in south georgia, it's a big part of all of our lives, but i grew up in the church, i went to method school, and god has truly blessed me. i am thankful for all the many blessings that god has given to
me and my family. >> the debt is in excess of $18 trillion straight if you take the budget, 2/3, medicaid, entitlement, and defense spending. how do you bring down the debt? some have argued, cut spending by raise taxes. how would you do it? >> first, we've got to cut spending. spending, i mean discretionary as well as mandatory. >> including defense? >> that's a different area. we have cut defense, in my opinion, too much. i think we have reached the point to where we are getting to that dangerous level, we are cutting defense too much. i've always said, we've got to
have entitlement reform. most importantly, we've got to grow our way out of this. we have to grow our way out of this, and we can only do that -- we can only have that growth by investing in infrastructure. that is perhaps the most important thing. that,n if you do all of would you still need a tax increase to try to bring down the debt? i'm not going to be in favor of a tax increase. i thinkame time, there's enough area where we can have cuts in spending and cuts in entitlements to where we would not have to raise taxes. >> where would you put yourself in the political spectrum? rep. carter: i have very conservative values. that it's natural for me to have conservative values.
my father worked in a paper mill, he worked shift work, he worked very hard, i was the first one in my family to go to college and the first one to graduate from college, and i learned the value of hard work through my dad. i've had to work hard all my life, and i have and i've been very successful, i've been very own business,y had an institutional pharmacy that i did very well with, and i've learned through hard work and working hard to save, that you can succeed. >> are your parents still alive? rep. carter: my dad is. my mom passed on june 21 of 2008. i still miss her every day. my parents were married for 50 years. my dad is 78 now. e remarried a wonderful lady who also lost her husband, lost her spouse.
they are doing quite well together and we are very fortunate to still have him with us. >> is your debts surprised the you are in politics? -- dad surprised that you are in politics? rep. carter: he was actually chair of the recreation department when we were growing up, was very active with me. interest,had an though he never held office or ran for office or anything. he's a little surprised, probably. >> i assume that is a picture of you and your wife behind you? rep. carter: yes. >> where was it taken? rep. carter: the night we were sworn in. >> how did you meet her? rep. carter: we met in college. the former senator actually wrote a book called "the mountains within me."
he taught at young harris college. you described young harris college as being like a shoe factory because things come out in pairs. we came out in a pair. she was a year older than me. at first like her because she was so much smarter than me in school. she had an unfair advantage, her mother was a teacher. we were partners in college. we been together ever since then. >> did you tell her you do not like her at first? rep. carter: i tell her that all the time. >> three boys, what are their ages? rep. carter: 30, 28, 25. they are fine young men. graduated from washington university, spend a couple of years in new york city and graduated -- gravitated back down to charleston. we have been blessed with twin granddaughters.
they are just a delight. now my daughter-in-law is actually pregnant with our first grandson. we're looking forward to that. theyther daughter in law, met at the university of georgia. he followed her back to new orleans. he was headed to law school and came home and said, dad, i want to be a chef. a year and a half later he came home and said, dad i don't want to be a chef. that's fine. she went on to law school at tulane and graduated and is doing well now. he's back getting his master's degree from the university of new orleans. then our youngest son, he's in atlanta and went on to the state legislature. now he's got a condo in atlanta. well,oing exceptionally he's got a great job and he's enjoying himself. >> a big smile on your face when
you talk about your grandkids. rep. carter: yeah. twins.e identical >> how can you tell them apart? rep. carter: it's not easy. my wife and i babysit a couple of them a couple weeks ago and we actually put them down in their crib i got up the next morning and realized we had put them in the wrong crib. one of themcause said, i'm mary margaret. >> what is your routine here in washington? rep. carter: i stay in my office. >> there's a caught directly behind you. rep. carter: there is. it's a top-of-the-line cot. my wife start no expense with that cot. -- spared no expense with that cot.
there are over 80 members of congress who say -- stay in their office. we've got loggers and showers and washing machine, drier. it's like living in a dorm. you build up a lot of camaraderie when you see these guys every morning. i build up a lot of camaraderie from that. >> can you sleep well here in your office? probably, yes. right now they're having some construction. at the same time, i have had no problem at all sleeping. >> how often are you back in your district? rep. carter: every weekend here at -- weekend. i get home every weekend. the first district is where i was born and raised. i've been there all my life except for the five years i was off at school. it's my home, and i love it right i love the first district,
i love coastal georgia. we have so much to be proud of. we have two major ports, the port of savannah, the number two cargo port, container port on the eastern seaboard. we have four military installations, fort stewart, kings bay. ag presents down there, just a great district. arter couldessman c accomplish one thing, what would it be? rep. carter: being a pharmacist and being the only pharmacist in that is ofhe thing most interest to me is health care. let's ensure that the free market exists in health care and continues to exist. whether it be independent pharmacists, independent they are getting squeezed out and i don't think
that's good for health care. really am concerned about that, and that would be one thing i worked very diligently on. >> do you enjoy the job? rep. carter: i love it. this is a dream come true for me to be able to serve in the united states congress. particularly representing the area that you grew up in. it's really, really an honor for me. >> as you navigate through your district here in washington, republican party politics, what has surprised you the most? we've got a lot of challenges in this country, and i'm concerned. i'm concerned because it's my grandchildren, my children. i want them to enjoy the same great country i was able to enjoy.
my life has been a storybook. i'm very sensitive to these people who had problems. i never had that, and i'm so blessed in that way. the does concern me about the future, particularly everything that has happened in the middle east. not just israeli political leaders, but leaders of the palestinian notion -- nation. they are just concerned over there as the israelis are, and that's a powder keg in the most volatile region of the world. the more you get to know about what's going on in the world, the more concerned you become. i'm very concerned about the future. i'm very confident and very optimistic that we are going to have to make some tough decisions. >> against personal challenge for you being in congress? -- biggest personal challenge
for you being in congress? rep. carter: my wife and i have an empty nest right now. she has recently retired, and she tried to do that over a period of time. areas been tough but now we weng great, and for 37 years have been together and been married. i've truly been blessed with a great marriage. when you heard your title the first time, what were you thinking? rep. carter: it's easy to get caught up in that sometimes. i would be lying if i told you that did not happen to me. but i've realized i'm just fortunate to be able to hold this seat and hold this office. it is the office of the people of the first congressional district.
and then buddy carter -- that doesn't sound right. there, a lot of pressure because those guys are political icons in our area. just to follow in their footsteps is a big challenge for best i i want to do the can. that's all i've ever tried to do with the best i could. >> buddy, your given name or nickname? rep. carter: it's not. my parents had this bright idea of naming us after our grandparents. my grandfather was earl patrick. gracious. i think one day somebody said, hey buddy. i said, that sounds better than anything i've heard so far. my given name is earl. god bless my sister, her given name is cecilia. she goes by sissy.
>> congressman, thank you very much for your time. rep. carter: thank you. our congressional profile series continues with representative donald norcross of new jersey, who followed in his father's footsteps as a union electrician before becoming involved in politics. congressman norcross talks about significant moments during his first year in office, including a trip aboard air force one. he also describes his daily routine and the balance between work and family. norcross,sman donald first district of new jersey, democrat of new jersey, what first true you to public service -- drew you to public service? i got involved through the union and politics, helping to elect uni